Wasteland - the rural areas being blighted by fly-tipping
The blight of fly-tipping across the Irish countryside is on the increase as the economy picks up, local authorities and conservationists have warned.
Pure, the conservation group funded by the local authorities to remove illegally dumped waste from the uplands around Dublin, Wicklow and Kildare, says its members have collected and disposed of over 100t of rubbish upland from farming areas during the first quarter of this year.
"We have seen beds, furniture, old floor boards and entire kitchens dumped in the Wicklow and Dublin mountains this year as householders refurbish their properties," said spokesman Ian Davis.
"We are noticing that as the economy improves the level of this dumping increases. It could be that householders are renovating their properties and are getting rid of their unwanted rubbish by using unlicensed waste disposal operations."
Davis added that PURE investigates the source of the fly tipping and reports its findings to the prosecuting authorities. It is the householders involved - innocently or otherwise - who may ultimately face the courts. The IFA's environment chairman, Thomas Cooney, said tackling the problem remained a top priority.
"There's quite a bit of this dumping going on throughout the country at the moment, not only near lands off the main motorways and roads but also in more remote areas. The authorities have to enforce the waste laws and impose greater fines to deal with the problem.
"Trailer loads of the stuff is being dumped at gaps in the hedges and in fields and is not being brought to infill sites. It has become blight in the countryside, he added.
"Farmers are the guardians of the countryside and are bound to keep the land in good condition. When this type of illegal activity happens they have to clear up the mess or their basic farm payment could be reduced," he added.